To those of a certain generation, the idea of a psychic might evoke images of flickering neon signs or 1-800 numbers flashing across the TV screen. The internet is changing all that.
Psychic culture is not only thriving online, but reaching a whole new audience. With the growing popularity of Skype-based psychics, mindfulness-based intuitive readings, and secular, “literary tarot” salons, psychics are clearly charting new paths and being embraced by many that would’ve previously scoffed at the idea of dialing up a psychic for advice.
Moving from the outer realm to the inner self
One of the reasons for the growing popularity in psychic culture is the change in psychic readings themselves.
In the past, psychics were mostly viewed—whether admirably or with skepticism—as purported channels to some far-off mystic realm. But many of today’s psychics are taking a more grounded approach, offering guidance that focuses on the here and now.
Chalk this up to the general trends toward spiritual wellness. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are now household words (and practices), and psychics are also capitalizing on the public’s thirst for alternative modes of inner harmony.
Last March, a New York Times feature titled “Psychic Mediums Are the New Wellness Coaches” profiled psychic readers who see themselves not as fortune-tellers, but spiritual advisors helping people work through their day-to-day issues.
Evidence of this rise in intuitive wellness can be found all over the internet, from professional, boutique-y sites where you can chat with spiritual advisors 24/7, to astrology apps that incorporate meditations and other self-improvement tools into daily readings.
Of course not all psychics are abandoning the traditional fortune-telling approach. But it’s becoming clear that the future of psychic readings has less and less to do with, well, the future.
Tarot as art and storytelling
Even agnostics have found something of merit in psychic culture. From runway artists to the founders of secular psychic salons, people who typically shied away from intuitive readings are finding elements of psychic culture that call out to them.
Such is the case with Litwitchure, a literary tarot salon whose secular tarot readings have earned them tons of visitors and accolades from media such as Glamour Magazine. The women behind Litwitchure downplay the occultist nature of tarot and use it instead as a storytelling device that can help people recognize archetypes and narratives patterns in their own lives.
Litwitchure tapped into something powerful, namely the ability to reconcile millennial skepticism and spiritual curiosity by offering an artsy, buffet-style approach to tarot.
Rachel Howe is another example of tarot’s ability to break into new ground. The indie artist, who conducts tarot readings over Skype, is seeing tarot’s ability to empower those without a voice as one of the reasons for its budding popularity.
“Most of my clients are women, people of colour, queer people,” she told Huck Magazine. “The people who come to see me, a lot of whom have been disempowered, they realise they can care for themselves and guide themselves.”
Tarot has even edged its way into high fashion. Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri used tarot iconography in Dior’s 2018 cruise collection, which saw numerous pieces boldly adorned with tarot-card motifs. The company’s founder was a well-known aficionado, but using the cards’ designs in a full clothing line was evidence that the once-esoteric art is not only accepted, but fashionable.
Credit the internet for breaking down one of the biggest barriers to psychics—finding them.
Whereas you once had to venture to a palm-reader’s studio to get a taste of what psychics can offer, now you can simply scroll through Instagram or peruse an online psychic site or chatroom.
The diversity and transparency of online psychic culture has helped people more easily embrace it. You can do a video reading with a medium, watch your tarot cards being read in real-time, or simply chat with a clairvoyant at any hour of the day about your concerns.
Psychic culture is clearly riding the wellness wave, but it’s succeeding on its own as well. A new generation of people are looking for entryways into self-discovery. They’re finding that life advice can come from many different sources, and that one of those sources, though it’s been around forever, has become more accessible than ever.